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Britain Mourns As Stabbed Parliamentarian, 69, Dies

David Amess
David Amess

October 15, (THEWILL) – Britain has been thrown into mourning as a Member of Parliament, David Amess, earlier reported by THEWILL as having been stabbed by an assailant some hours ago, succumbed to his injuries.

In Westminster, flags have been lowered to half-mast.

A man was arrested after the MP for Southend West got stabbed several times at a church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.

Officials said the incident would force a review of security for Parliamentarians.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson returned to No. 10 from a cabinet meeting in Bristol following Amess’s death.

THEWILL had earlier reported that David Amess, 69, and a member of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party was stabbed several times on Friday at the Belfairs Methodist Church during a meeting with voters from his electoral district.

He represented Southend West in Essex, eastern England.

His website said he held meetings with local voters on the first and third Friday of the month.

The PM’s wife and the Conservative party’s former Director of Communications, Carrie Johnson, is among those paying tribute. She said, “Absolutely devastating news about Sir David Amess. He was hugely kind and good. An enormous animal lover and a true gent. This is so completely unjust. Thoughts are with his wife and their children.”

Reports indicate that a vigil would be held in Amess’s constituency, starting at 6pm at St Peter’s church in Eastwood.

More tributes have continued to pour in after news of the death went public.

Former Prime Minister, Sir John Major, has offered his condolences, saying, “This is truly heartbreaking news of a good and decent man who –for over 30 years– was a dedicated public servant. My heart goes out to his family.”

Also, former Prime Minister Theresa May paid tribute, saying, “Heartbreaking to hear of the death of Sir David Amess. A decent man and respected Parliamentarian, killed in his own community while carrying out his public duties. A tragic day for our democracy. My thoughts and prayers are with David’s family.”

MPs’ security will be reviewed in the wake of Amess’ death, the Commons Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, has said.

The Speaker offered condolences to the MP’s friends and family, and went on to say, “I am shocked and deeply distressed by the killing of Sir David Amess. David was a lovely man, devoted to his family, to parliament and his Southend West constituency. He was well-liked by members and the staff alike, and during his almost four decades here, built a reputation for kindness and generosity. This is an incident that will send shockwaves across the parliamentary community and the whole country. In the coming days, we will need to discuss and examine MPs’ security and any measures to be taken, but for now, our thoughts and prayers are with David’s family, friends and colleagues.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby described the MP’s death as “a deep blow” to the UK and democracy.

Cardinal Nichols, the UK’s most senior Catholic –the denomination to which Amess belonged– said: “I was shocked and saddened to learn of the killing of Sir David Amess MP, while serving his constituents and country. I pray for the repose of his soul, and for his family and constituents who grieve for him. May he rest in peace.

“The death of a father, husband and friend is agonisingly painful for those who loved him. The murder of an MP, in the course of caring for their constituents, is a deep blow to this country, its citizens and everyone who desires a peaceful and flourishing democracy.

“Sir David Amess dedicated his life to championing causes he believed in, serving constituents and his country for almost 40 years as a Member of Parliament.

“The only antidote to violence and hatred is love and unity. In this horrific and tragic moment we must come together, across political difference, and be the light that refuses to be cowed by darkness.”

The Royal College of Midwives has said it is “shocked and saddened” by the news, recalling that “Sir David was a great champion for better maternity services throughout his long parliamentary career. He was the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Maternity and had served in that role for many years. Indeed, the RCM met with his team only yesterday to plan an APPG event on maternity safety he was helping organise in parliament next month.

“This is such devastating news. Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this time.”

The Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, said he was “devastated,” calling Amess a “great man, a great friend, and a great MP killed while fulfilling his democratic role.

“My heart goes out to Julia, his family, and all who loved him. Let us remember him and what he did with his life.”

Labour’s Darren Jones said he was “horrified and deeply saddened” by the news, adding, “MPs may come from different parties but we’re all in Parliament to serve our constituents and our country together. This hurts all of us, as well as our democracy. RIP, Sir David.”

The Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote: “Elected representatives from across the political spectrum will be united in sadness and shock today. In a democracy, politicians must be accessible and open to scrutiny, but no-one deserves to have their life taken while working for and representing their constituents. The threat to politicians is pronounced in Scotland as well. In February, Holyrood magazine reported that a third of MSPs had received a death threat since being elected. Its poll was conducted after a man was arrested for sending threats – including one of sexual violence – to the SNP MP Joanna Cherry.”

Stephen Cottrell, the Archbishop of York, remembered David Amess as his friend, saying, “He was the MP for the constituency where I grew up and, not only did he always faithfully serve those people and that place, but had a particular concern for the Christian community born of his own deeply held Christian faith as a member of the Roman Catholic community.

“It is shocking that someone so dedicated to his community and public service was the victim of such violence as he went about his elected duty. It is hard to make sense of the horror of what has happened this afternoon but he and his family and those he loves are in my prayers.”

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak said, “The worst aspect of violence is its inhumanity. It steals joy from the world and can take from us that which we love the most. Today, it took a father, a husband, and a respected colleague. All my thoughts and prayers are with Sir David’s loved ones.”

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said, “Devastated to hear the terrible news about Sir David Amess MP. He was a lovely, lovely man and a superb Parliamentarian. My thoughts are with all his family and friends.”

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey submitted: “This is tragic and horrible news. My thoughts are with David’s wife and children, the wider family, friends and David’s community. A truly terrible day for British politics but most importantly of all our prayers are with all the people who loved David.”

According to Essex police in a statement, “A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a man was stabbed in Leigh-on-Sea. We were called to an address in Eastwood Road North shortly after 12.05pm today (Friday 15 October). We attended and found a man injured. He was treated by emergency services but, sadly, died at the scene.

“A 25-year-old man was quickly arrested after officers arrived at the scene on suspicion of murder and a knife was recovered. He is currently in custody. We are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident.”